For the first time, Sunburn Festival, a popular electronic dance music event, is being held in Pune. This happened as the organisers faced hurdles in obtaining permission from the Goa government even after hosting the event there for nine years. But, in its tenth year, the troubles only seem to be increasing.
A bunch of right-wing groups in Pune have come together to oppose the event apparently because it attacks "Indian culture, society and the nation."
Not just that. Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing group, is now claiming that not only is the festival 'unsanskari', it is also bad for the economy.
The group has claimed that the organisers have not paid entertainment tax to the Goa government for three years. Abhay Vartak, spokesperson of Sanatan Sanstha told Pune Mirror, "The event's organisers have duped the Goa government by not paying taxes. Since they have defaulted with the Goa government, the Maharashtra government should also be wary of letting them host the event here."
However, the organisers have refuted these claims.
"Sunburn contributed approximately Rs 800 crore to Goa state revenue. Out of Rs 800 crore, nearly Rs 200 crore went into the treasury of the state government," one of the organisers said.
But Sanatan Sanstha is not stopping there. They are trying all ways to ensure the event, that is set to begin tomorrow, gets cancelled.
They have also claimed that the location where the event is being held is dangerous. Apparently due to its close proximity to the Lohegaon airport, the high beams and floodlights will disturb the flight operations. However, the Air Force officials have not denied them permission.
The group also claimed that the organisers of the festival built a helipad at the venue without seeking permission. Turns out, there is no helipad.
Earlier this month, 100 women from the Sanatan Sanstha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Narad Mandir Nyas staged a dharna and demanded that the district collector cancel the music event.
The outfits have alleged that people participating in the festival 'freely consume drugs'. According to them, that was the reason why it was shifted out of Goa.
Shalaka Sahasrabuddhe, a member of Sanatan Sanstha told Hindustan Times, "The Goa government banned Sunburn due to its obscene nature. Now that they have shifted to Pune, we will oppose them here."
Durga Vahini, the VHP's women's wing have alleged that that the festival has proven harmful to the environment as trees are cut at the venue and the loud music harms the ecology.
Meanwhile, the organisers — Percept — said that no illegal practices take place at the event. "There is no place for narcotic substances at Sunburn. Besides, strong police presence will be keeping close eye through 200 CCTV cameras at the venue," Manuj Agarwal, CEO, Percept told HT.
Started in 2007, the four-day-long electronic dance music festival was held in Goa for nine years with around 4.5 lakh people participating in it every year.
Also see on HuffPost: